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The North East is among the worst areas in the country for alcohol-related deaths.
Figures from the Office of National Statistics reveal that our region has the second highest rate of alcohol-related deaths in England for both men and women.
And while death rates in recent years have stabilised, twice as many North Easterners are suffering an alcohol-related death than 20 years ago.
Tragically, many of those deaths occur in young, working age people. Nationally, 43% of males and 41% of females who die from alcohol-related causes are below the age of 55.
Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, said:
"It's especially saddening that so many people in England die from alcohol-related causes before they have reached the age of 55. Not only does this bring untold heartbreak for families, it has knock-on implications for the economy."
"While this latest data is shocking enough, these statistics are also a relatively conservative estimate, with the true figure likely to be higher. Recent figures from Public Health England indicate that nationally around 21,000 people die annually from alcohol-related causes, significantly higher than these ONS estimates."
"It's no coincidence that as death rates rise, cheap alcohol has continued to be more accessible. Alcohol in the UK is now 61% more affordable than it was in 1980, but the costs to our health and the wider economy are rising."
"To save lives, we must make alcohol less affordable. People are dying because alcohol is far too cheap, it's available at all hours of the day and night and it's far too heavily promoted. Today's ONS statistics are further evidence that a minimum unit price for alcohol is necessary."
"A minimum unit price of at least 50p will make cheap, strong alcohol less affordable to the vulnerable, younger and heavier drinkers who are more likely to drink it and suffer the consequences. At the same time, it would not impact on moderate drinkers."
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